Dec 272014

When Roberto Martinez first arrived at Goodison Park many Evertonians had reservations that he might win more friends than matches.

Despite his FA Cup success at Wigan Athletic, the Catalan’s overall record at his previous club produced 51 victories and 78 defeats from 176 matches, a winning percentage of 28.98%.

However, Martinez allayed such fears by steering the Blues to a club record points haul of 72 in the Premier League – 11 better than when they finished fourth in 2005.

Martinez’s men have found victories harder to come by so far this term though and they’re currently 13 points worse off than they were a year ago and slumped in 12th place in the Premier League table as opposed to being fifth.

With tomorrow’s game marking the halfway point of the domestic campaign the Blues will be determined to start putting things right.

When they last visited St James’ Park back in March they were on the crest of a wave midway through an impressive six-game winning streak, but they go into this encounter with just one victory in their last six Premier League outings.

The term ‘Second Season Syndrome’ is now widely used in football and sport in general – Americans refer to it as ‘The Sophomore Slump’ and Martinez and his Everton side who haven’t lost any of the stars who did so well in 2013/14 will not want to have such a tag hanging over their heads.

For all his relative success at Goodison, Martinez’s predecessor David Moyes was the club’s most high-profile victim of this phenomenon.

After steering Everton to 7th place – only their second ever top-half finish in the Premier League – in his first full season in charge with 59 points, the Scot experienced a dramatic downturn in fortunes the following year.

Despite never seriously being in relegation danger, a late slump saw the Blues finish 17th with just 39 points in 2004 with their awful run culminating with a 5-1 mauling at Manchester City on the final day of the campaign.

In contrast, Walter Smith’s Everton teams were consistently inconsistent.

The former Rangers boss’ second season at Goodison saw the Blues finish 13th with 50 points, a slight improvement on his debut campaign when they came 14th with 43 points – thanks largely to Kevin Campbell’s prolific end-of-season goalscoring heroics.

Neither Joe Royle nor Mike Walker stuck around for two full seasons but there wasn’t much movement for Howard Kendall second time around.

In 1991/92 the Blues were 12th with 53 points from 42 games.

Having returned to the club in November 1990, Kendall had finished that campaign in 9th with 51 points from 38 games.

Having inherited a title-winning side, Colin Harvey faced flak for ‘merely’ finishing 4th in his first season in charge with 70 points from 40 games in an odd 21-team top flight in 1987/88.

However that’s as good as it got for the former midfield maestro as the Blues slipped to 8th with 54 points from 38 games in his second season.

Again, despite going on to later lead the club through their most successful period there was little movement in the early years of Kendall’s first spell in charge.

After finishing 8th with 64 points in his first season in 1981/82, the Blues recorded an identical points tally the next year to finish one place higher in 7th.

Gordon Lee’s ‘nearly men’ showed how high the bar was being set in the late 1970s as they followed up a 3rd place finish with 55 points in 1977/78 with 4th place and 51 points in 1978/79.

Billy Bingham stepped things up in his second season finishing 4th with 50 points in 1974/75 after coming 7th with 44 points in his first year.

Goodison’s king of the second season though is Harry Catterick who after steering the Blues to 4th in his first season with 51 points, guided them to the League Championship in 1962/63 with 61 points.

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 Posted by at 9:18 pm

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